The Bank of Charlie and Howard
The story of Community Bank exemplifies the entrepreneurial business spirit of California. Two brothers, Charlie and Howard Cook, came to Southern California in the 1920s with not much more than their resourcefulness and determination to succeed. And succeed they did. Through years of hard work, they built a company that manufactured concrete mixers for the construction trades.
But the Great Depression severely reduced demand. Even worse, most banks simply stopped financing construction equipment. Ever resourceful, the brothers began financing equipment for their customers, who, like themselves, were small business owners.
Frustrated with dealing with large banks, Charlie decided to open his own bank after World War II. It was a daunting challenge. Not one bank had been formed in California since the stock market crash of 1929, and the state banking office had trouble finding the application forms for a bank charter. The FDIC was reluctant to provide insurance for the bank’s depositors. But Charlie overcame all these hurdles, and on August 18, 1945, Huntington Park Bank opened its doors.
The doubters were immediately proven wrong. From its inception, the Bank was successful, ending its first year with $896,000 in total assets. Charlie’s vision from the beginning was to focus on middle-market companies and provide outstanding customer service. These practices enabled the Bank to grow steadily.
In 1950, Huntington Park Bank changed its name to Community Bank to reflect its increased geographical coverage, and to underscore the Bank’s commitment to the communities it served.
As the Southern California economy grew, the need for more sophisticated financial tools also grew. Community Bank’s range of services expanded to meet these evolving needs. Today, Community Bank provides virtually every financial service needed by businesses in Southern California, including lending to ESOPs, financing of foreign trade and hedging of foreign currency.
What hasn’t changed is an unwavering dedication to integrity and customer service – the values so important to Charlie and Howard when they built their business. These same values still define Community Bank today, and into the future.